When Joining the Brotherhood, Age Has No MeaningJoseph C “Sam” Cox’s experience with Sigma Phi Delta was slightly different from the rest of his brothers, as he was 38 years old when he pledged. After he retired from the army at 38, he went to study chemical engineering at the University of Illinois initially, but later changed his major and graduated with a philosophy degree. After looking into several groups, club and fraternities during the university’s Quad Day, Cox decided to join Sigma Phi Delta, simply because his age didn’t bother them. “I ran into a couple of fellows, Russ DiSalvo and Craig Loudon, from the fraternity manning the fraternity booth, and they didn’t bat an eyelash when I chipped in that I was 38!” he said.

The way he saw it, there were 42,000 students on campus, and he didn’t know a single one. Not wanting a lonely college experience, he decided to “give it a go” and attend one of the rush events.

Cox lived in the fraternity house and enjoyed every moment of it. He sees living there as a valuable experience for all brothers. “I had a fantastic fraternity experience [over] the next four and half years,” he said. “I don’t understand why someone would be in a fraternity and not live in a house. That first time living away from home with others is important.”

Although Cox had already spent time living away from home, he still learned important lessons in the house, but of a slightly different sort. The brothers living in the house were closer to his children’s ages at the time, so he got “a lot of practice parenting whilst living in the house,” as he put it.

Due to complications caused by kidney stones, Cox stayed an extra semester and graduated in 2001. After graduation, he took a job as a veteran’s employment representative at the unemployment office and later became a federal grant monitor in southern Illinois.

“The job had nothing to do with anything fraternal as I had handicapped myself by getting a philosophy degree,” Cox said.  

Despite his career being less focused on brotherhood, Cox still found a way to be involved. He moved to his wife’s farm in New Hampshire after a heart attack and defibrillator implant and became involved with the House Restoration project and the capital fundraising project for Sigma Phi Delta.

Cox still stays apprised of the capital project and hopes to assist with the fundraising project in the future. He was also able to make it back to campus to attend Homecoming last year and connect with brothers.

Cox is currently expecting his first grandchild, and is in the works of planning an Italian cooking vacation. “I might stay!” he joked.


Upcoming Events

There are no up-coming events

Lost Brothers

We're missing contact information of alumni brothers, and need your help to find them. Click below to download a copy of our current lost mailing list or email list. Send our alumni partner, Affinity Connection, your updates.